tv The Presidency CSPAN September 6, 2014 12:00pm-1:02pm EDT
florida's votes. panelists include lawyers from both sides of the case as well as the palm beach county supervisor who oversaw the recount in that area. the st. thomas university ethics center and miami-dade commission on ethics and public trust hosted this hour-long event. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> we're going to make this as realistic as possible for you. by that i mean we're going to track this from the ballot box through the florida supreme court and all the way up to the united states supreme court. one of the things we have here are persons who actually played in one way or another very pivotal roles in this particular event which, as you all know, hardly ever happens. but in any event let me start of
off by telling you what my association with the bush-gore election actually turned out to be. when they discovered that we were going to have a long and drawn-out scenario as to who actually won this election, the news media as they usually do clapped their hands and said, "boy, we've got something going here for a long time." now all we have to do is get somebody on that supreme court who is willing to tell us how the court is going to rule. that's the florida supreme court. well, obviously they couldn't get that. the next thing was well, let's find somebody who is on the supreme court and maybe he or she can help us out. that's how they got to me and i appeared in about 75 to 80
interviews on tv and on the radio give them my opinions as to what i thought may happen next. and it might surprise you to know that i was on every major network, even on pbs, even on geraldo rivera -- what's his name again? >> rivera. >> anyhow, i was on his show, which was an experience in and of itself the one night they had me standing by in a tv studio in miami and he was wherever he was conducting it, i think it was on cnbc at the time, and they had two fellows there. one representing the republican party, the other representing the democratic party. and they were arguing and screaming at each other and then he said so me, justice, what do you think of this? i said, before i'm going to say
one word, you're going to have to get those two screamers off that show. well, i didn't go on that night. they called me the next morning and said, please appear tonight. i said there is no way i'm going to appear tonight at all because i see the way you carry on the program. and you learn a great deal about media coverage of stories like this. and what did i basically learn? that is the major networks try the best they can to bring you the news in a true and forthright manner, as best they understand it. the other stations like cnbs, msnbc and fox news, you learn pretty soon that those really aren't news shows, they're entertainment shows for people who are watching those each night and want to be
entertained. that's what those stations are going to do for you. i found that the most intelligent program of all was jim lehr's newshour on pbs because those are folks who had their staff seriously interview all of the speakers for an hour's time at least before they came on television and they had intelligent discussions between intelligent peoples instead of people screaming at each other. and one very, very notable thing that happened, two things, the first one was i was on "chris matthews hardball" program one evening and the other person on the program was orrin hatch, who at that time was the chairman of the senate judiciary committee. and the florida supreme court had just ruled, and they ruled that there should be a recount in florida.
the first thing out of the senator's mouth was, "judge, isn't that the worst opinion you ever heard of?" and i said, well, senator, you know, it's only been out about 20 minutes. i haven't even read it. he said, "but it's a terrible opinion." >> he said, i'm assuming that you read it. he said, "i didn't have to read it to know it's a terrible opinion," at which time i said to him, "senator, you know, stop being a hypocrite. you don't tell the chairman of the senate judiciary committee "stop being a hypocrite" on national television, but i have never worried about that. i usually call it the way i see it. i said if you don't like something and don't care what the reason fering is behind it, you're just going to be opposed to it. that's what i mean when i say you're a hypocrite.
if you fairly evaluated it and then came up with an opinion, that would be something he is. right there they cut off the program and switched to the follow-up guests, who were jerry falwell and the honorable rick santorum, the junior senator from the state of pennsylvania. and right away falwell starts out and says, what do you expect from that kogan? that florida supreme court is the worst supreme court in the united states and it's known as that. well, actually, that wasn't true because actually the florida supreme court has been for many years one of the leading supreme courts in the united states. then rick santorum comes up and says, "thank god kogan's not on that court now because god knows what would have happened."
the happiest day of my life was when he lost for re-election and only served one term as senator. \[laughter] i won't make any comment about what he's been doing since that particular period of time. but the most sensible conversation i had on radio was when i got a call from a radio station in bogota, colombia and they were going to do a program and i would be speaking in english and they'd be translating it for their audience in spanish and then i would answer it in english and they would translate my answer in spanish. do you know that that was one of the most sensible programs that i was on during that entire period of time? and i found out that the audience, who were colombians, not only knew more about our election, but understood what was happening better than the so-called experts that the tv stations were putting on. so what does that really tell you?
it tells you that sometimes we really lose sight of what's really going on. so as i say, that was my connection to gore vs. bush. as i said, we're going to give you people, all four of them here are persons who have been personally active in that particular moment in time. first speaker you are going to hear from is joe klock, a member of the florida bar. he was the attorney for kathryn harris, who was our secretary of state, handled the case for her all the way through the united states supreme court. next we have ben keuhne, who was
an attorney for al gore during the same period of time. then norman ostrow, who was at different times a member of the state elections commission, chairman of the state ethics commission, a member of the state legislature, and at the time that all this was going on was an assistant state attorney in broward county in charge of looking into what was happening in the year 2000 during this particular campaign. and then, as i said, we get to the ballot box and we're very, very honored to have with us theresa lepore. therese was the person in charge of the elections department for the county of palm beach here in dade county and that's where a lot of people said all this started from. so she's here today, and what we're going to do is i'm going
to have each of our guests get up and speak for seven minutes each and no questions until all of them have finished. then we will open it up for your questions. so, joe, why don't you start out for us? >> thank you, appreciate it. go ahead. >> it's excellent to see theresa lepore here because that is where it really all started as far as kathryn harris was concerned. when i was 33 i represented a guy who is still around. he is in his 70's, flies his own jet, the c.e.o. of a large public company and he was involved in a fight for his company's life with victor pozner, one of the most disgusting human beings ever to draw breath in the state of florida. one thing i learned from this man is he said the worst thing
that can ever happen to you as a lawyer is to end up in a case where there's more than one lawyer and he said each time you add another lawyer to the mix, it becomes worse. and i always remembered that and it was true in that case. there were like 20 lawyers representing this, that, and the other thing. when i walked into the courtroom in palm beach county, sat in the back because we had a bit role and watched the craziness that went on before now justice of the supreme court bruce rogeau,
probably one of the finest constitutional scholars in the united states, introduce there making a presentation and you would think everyone would be interested in what bruce had to say, but they really were only interested in what they had to say. it was crazy. so when kathryn harris called on us to represent her, harris who has been vilified by a whole bunch of people and is one of the most intelligent clients i ever had, one of the things we went over was do we want to have more than one law firm working on the trial and appellate, da, da, da, da, da? we recommended no. it turned out you could have better control of the case. on al gore's side there were lawyers all over the place, very, very fine lawyers, but they had the disadvantage of
working for mr. gore, who was smarter than all of them and had to review every single document. ben will remember one time we were in front of the judge and the gore people were trying to arrange a sort of aggressive schedule as far as going forward with the trial. we had to say, we can't be in front of the supreme court and here at the same time. when we started out the case, the first discussion we had was we thought it made sense to have a statewide recount. the team that worked for the secretary was half democrat, half republicans. i'm a lifetime democrat. most of the people in the key roles were democrats and our view it had nothing to do with party but -- but our idea was it made sense rather than just two four counties, do the whole state. ben will remember it ended up being very cold that year. very cold. w had a filing deadline of 3:30 in the morning to file certain petitions. almost at the last minute we
made a decision to amend our petition to ask for a statewide restrictor, which we had asked for but we asked for a stay while that took place. and they went berserk on the other side and that is what started the tone. from that point on we decide we're going to do everything by the book. the secretary made a decision as well that she was not going to appear in front of press unless there was a reason for her to do it. because as chief justice kogan pointed out, it was a circus in a lot of ways the we handled everything with the same team of 20 or 21 lawyers, which involved a case in the united states district court in pensacola, we had a case in tallahassee, two appeals before the supreme court of florida, en banc appeal, and various and sundry other activities going on around the
state. we had the same 20 or 21 people working on it. didn't get a lot of sleep, but that's what was going on. the secretary would sit and whenever we had any kind of position we wanted to take, we would present the arguments, she would read the case and make a decision the but the key was controlling the process as best we could do. the supreme court of florida, which i have a high regard for as well, every time we had everything that was ruled in our favor, within two hours it was reversed, stayed, dumped, something happened to it. so we had a procedure where we would celebrate immediately, no more than a half hour after we won because we knew it would be taken away from us the but the fact of matter is if you looked at the opinions of the supreme court they hand down, the key to it is the concurring opinion of the chief justice, thomas and scalia. really as word has leaked out on the court, the decision was 5-4,
not 7-2 but they didn't want to hand down a 5-4 decision, so they backed into the equal protection argument. what won was a little-known statute passed in 1874 or 1875. that year there had been a mess in electing a president because they were changing the rules as to how you selected the electors and it was a mess and lasted for months and months. if you recall at that time, they had the election in november but the president didn't take office until march, so it was plenty of time for a mess. congress passed a statute that said the law in effect on election day controlled the selection of electors. they could change anything they wanted to after but in terms of counting the votes they had to use the law that was in effect on election day. there was a very recent case then in florida where they interpreted the common law with
respect to elections and were able to make the argument that that's all great, fine, but that wasn't the law in effect on elections day. the law in effect was this law. a couple comments about the whole process. i see there are several lawyers in here of mature age. actually ben is, too. he looks 25 but he's not. the most important thing for everyone in the room, as a trial lawyer, is to tell you if someone brings you a case, the most important question is who is the judge? ok. who is the judge is sometimes 50% of the case, even before you look at any of the pleadings or anything else. so when we were sitting up there before the supreme court, we knew that court because that was
the court we knew. the 11th circuit is fascinating. but i've only been before the supreme court of the united states twice and the supreme court of the united states is a trip. we were in a room that had 750 people in it and they took the counsel table and slid them up against the bench. if you have seen pictures of the supreme court, the bench is in a sort of semicircle. so where i sat, justice ginsberg was no more than three feet away, just sitting there. and usually when you are in front of an appellate court you don't worry about having all of them hot. some are deceased. but the supreme court of the united states, the only respite
you have in the supreme court of the united states is when either justice breyer or suter asked questions because they asked long, detailed questions. but the rest of them were just rat-tat-tat all the way through. the lawyers on the other side -- i've known ben, and david boies, we've had some of the finest lawyers in the country working on this case. i had mentioned to the chief justice i thought it would be more interesting to talk about some of the strategic decisions made rather than rehash what went before but the fact is this is titled, bush vs. gore in retrospect, could it happen again? to which i respond, i hope to god it is not. it is ok maybe to have that kind of test of our system once in 200 years but the idea of having nine individuals on a regular basis decide who is going fob the president is a very, very hairy thing.
i remember thinking to myself on december 12, look at this country we have. gore is the vice president. he has all kinds of power. the supreme court speaks, he shuts it down like that. where else in the world would that happen? where else? i guess my response is it was an exciting opportunity to be engaged in and i hope it's an exciting opportunity that no one else ever has. \[applause] >> consider it's election night 2000. i'm in the fontainebleu hilton, celebrating the election of the person who is now known and will forever be known as the next president of the united states, al gore and never getting to uphold that title and the news media has just announced florida is in the al gore blue column.
you see, remember that map and the colors, red and blue? florida. that was for all of us in the room the signature moment. al gore was the next president of the united states. and then all of a sudden the tv screen changed. and they take the map off and they say oh, premature. and we've been following the reports, there's nothing premature about this. and then the report comes in saying there are problems with the florida vote. and there is no color on florida. and this seemed remarkable. for those of us who had been toiling in florida for this campaign season.
and the news gets worse. then the commentators talked about well, it seems that it's going to be called for bush. and then the commentary about the governor, who had previously said florida was going to carry bush to the white house. and i am at the fontainebleu with kendall coffey and the two of us say something's going on. we immediately get on the phone with somebody all of us know, the attorney general of the state of florida, who happened to be active in the gore campaign and we said, we've got a battle. eight hours later kendall and i are flying up to tallahassee to meet with the secretary of state, warren christopher, bill daley, the campaign chair and bob butterworth, to talk about what is happening in the state of florida because we knew, we
believed as lawyers, mischief was at hand. and 37 days later we still don't know if it was mischief or not but that's the nature be something that captivated america -- no, no, captivated the world, for 36 days. and justice kogan is right about people in colombia and elsewhere taking attention of this. as a side note, i spent time during the president nixon resignation year in ghana and nigeria, doing research. and the issue at that time was, well, of course the president of the united states would never be forced from office. he's got the army at his disposal. their view was of course, leaders take the army and you can't be forced out. and i was teaching a college class at the time in the university of lagos and i
posited the view that we're a constitutional system and the rule of law applies. the same discussion was going on at that time. of course the vice president is not going to lose the election. we learned that like in other places in the world, we are controlled by an army, but it turned out an army of lawyers, not of guns and that army of lawyers became very handy from practicing lawyers to judges and justices and everybody had their role. but the fascinating part of this is you may not remember 2000, but we didn't travel at the speed of light. we didn't travel at the speed of cell phones with instantaneous information. there are things back then,
maybe newspaper of you have heard of it, called beepers where you got a phone number and that's about all, or the really elite had blackberries that could text them some information. not a whole lot, but some. consider that in the course of 36 days, our team, team gore-lieberman, we called ourselves team recount, we have the t-shirt and hats to prove it, put together a virtual law firm when there was no such word as virtual law firm. we understand the bush people did it as well. their theme was different. but we put together literally an army of resources throughout florida and beyond the state of people we would call at a moment's notice to fight a battle in what became an effort to count votes in every county of the state of florida.
not an easy task. there are some, as we know, counties that can't even count their ballots the first time without taking a couple of days and here we wanted, it seemed, to count all the ballots again, this recount. sitting in tallahassee with these three geniuses, warren christopher, bill daley and bob butterworth, who, by the way, had never been through an election battle that involved counting the votes. bill daley had but his kind of election battles were a little bit different, making sure the votes were there as opposed to afterwards counting the vote, or so the stories are told. we proceeded to give these three people a primer on florida election law. and, man, was it complicated at a time when you probably couldn't put 10 people in a room together who knew or dealt with election law enforcement. now i've tried to get election law be a board certification. lawyers need to know this area. and we explained to them what
the law was and then had to fend off a lot of questions about how do we do that? how do we do recounts? how do we figure out what standards apply? all issues that courts had to deal with, not a hypothetical on a court reviewing after the fact, all because it mattered. why? because there was no elected president of the united states for a day after the election. what was the last time that happened? joe is right. in the early days where they didn't know who the president was until the electoral congress convened, that was expected. in the modern day we knew in a day or two. never happened before that we really didn't know. and who was going to help us do that?
so there begot two competing themes. one, how do we figure out what the real voting is? because somebody had not counted the votes correctly or we said not counted the votes completely, with the recognition that, man, if this thing takes too long, there could be a constitutional crisis. this sense of unease. i'll flip forward saying that we now know back then in 2000, 36 days is way too long for america to have to be focused on an election. if, by the way. the matter got to the supreme court for final decision, 10 days earlier, 11 days, you know what? america was still interested. by 36 days. read the newspapers. america was getting tired of this issue and that matters a lot. it may not matter in the courtroom, we think. it certainly matters on the street but in this particular case it mattered. so lightning speed was something we recognized. nobody knew how lightning it was going to have to be the and a
playing field that is the state of florida, recognizing although much debate about this that we might be playing out on a larger stage, this might become a national issue, although lots of the discussion was of course, we know that this is a state of florida matter controlled by the state of florida. it's not controlled by federal judges, not controlled by the supreme court. florida will be the definitive spokesperson or court for this, although we recognize that the reality is this is, after all, the presidential election, it was likely that there was going to be an effort to go higher. and we learned very early, at least we believed, and joe can fill us in, was the issue let's count the votes or let's not count the votes?
and frankly, even in the gore team, the debate was about do we count all the vote or do we just cherry-pick? and interestingly for people who get involved in recounts, there had always been a big debate. when you have an election that's close, do you pick precincts, districts where you won and try to troll through those votes to try to find more like-minded people who probably voted for you but their ballots didn't count? or do you do the opposite, go into districts where you lost by a little and try to disqualify or counter the votes? raging debate. the gore team took the position we believe in furtherance of democracy we want every vote to be counted for everybody.
remember that mantra, count all the votes, count all the votes, it had some sense of democracy about it. that's what we do. and the political pitch, the media pitch was to try to paint the bush side as not being interested in counting all the votes, almost like cherry picking the votes. remember that was the underlying dynamic, i dana make -- a dynamic that was not necessarily created by the lawyers, but the lawyers became the spokespeople for the campaigns. lawyers doing their lawyering, but this was not a case where the teams were represented by the media person who went out there and gave the speech. the lawyers, after every proceeding, did a presentation, and that's really what we saw,
lawyers standing up and being publicly, asson well as in the courtroom. those who say i try my cases in the court room, it's a great platitude, but in reality, it's only part of the battle. so, the early days, the early stage, and alternately, playing a battle across the state required a technology boost. and i am going to close with one item i think is kind of fun. i mentioned blackberries. let me tell you the role of technology. steve zack, one of our trial lawyers, had a blackberry at the time. he has on exam one of the expert witnesses who designed one of these things -- remember the hanging chad? and we have research going on in , and somebody finds
the patent application from that expert for this machine. and you know what is buried in that application? the reality that after that machine is used for several elections, chads happen because the machine doesn't punch through. the republican theory was it was all voter error. well, we e-mailed steve zack, not e-mail, text him, saying go had ao that our law firm chance to run in with the pages, and sure enough, that expert denied machine error, and it was in his own report. that combination of technology helped us do that, and ultimately we live with the consequences of bush versus gore. thank you. [applause]
>> that's the legal side. of us are going to be in the trenches. i was the deputy county attorney i representednd the canvassing board. when we got into that situation, when it came to the canvassing had toor the recount, we make all these decisions. well, in a prior life, i was in the state legislature, and i was chair of the ethics selection .ommittee in 1989 prior to 1989, there was no recount provision. we were all -- the statutes dealt with the lever machine,
primarily. in 1989, they brought forth some amendments to deal with manual recount. all the testimony they came -- that came about then was that we were looking at mechanical error. counting machines counting correctly? is there an error in how the count?g machines , there were no amendments. 1999, there was a small amendment. during all that time frame, everything revolved around mechanical. everybody knew. everybody knew that these hanging chads were an issue.
everybody knew that and nobody what are weying going to do and how are we going to count that? the way the 1989 amendment said , anday request a recount if you do, we go through a process that the recount would go through the machines first, and if there is a discrepancy, you can request a manual recount. , thef you did that canvassing board would look at several things. and would correct an error run it back through the machine. they could verify the tabulation and see if there's anything wrong with the tabulation , or they could do a , and it was the
mayor's discretion. so we are sitting there with that statute that everybody , when we passed it in 1989, that it dealt with a mechanical problem, that the machines were not counting properly. never that the hanging chads were going to be anything like that. so now we are stuck with this. we ask for an opinion from the department of elections. they give us one opinion. then we come back and the attorney -- the general comes out and gives us another opinion. so we are there, and every time we try to make a decision on what to do on a manual recount -- first, we said we weren't going to do a manual recount. in our county, we weren't going to do it. we just weren't going to do it.
then they came back with a lot that we would ultimately do a manual recount. how are we going to do that? take thesehing is things and determine whether or not that would affect elections and then come back and do the whole recount. what were we a going to do to look at these ballots at that time? how are you going to define what the voter intent was? we had one suggestion that it was a two corner rule. corners there,wo two it was one way or corners the other way, you would count it. so we are sitting with all these how we areetermine
going to do these recounts. and i don't know if you remember, if you go back historically to this time, the supervisor of elections wasn't feeling well. she was not going to sit on the canvassing board. there was a judge, another judge appointed. judge rosenberg. remember the photographs of the thing in the smithsonian now. i had given him a magnifying glass from the office so that he to seeook at the ballot whether or not it would be
punched out. so here you have three people , one with this ballot a magnifying glass, looking at the ballot and saying gore vote, bush vote, gore vote, bush wrote. it was an amazing process because we had no definitive way of determining that. just a very, very difficult situation. i would constantly called home big shutdown in -- call palm beach county, how are they doing? ultimately, we got through. and again, we had counting teams because the statute required us to have counting teams, trying to find people of the opposite party to sit down and do this. took over a whole emergency operations center at one time to have all the county teams do the initial counting, and then the
statute says if they can't make a determination of voter intent, they give it to the canvassing board and then the canvassing board will set their and make theretermination -- sit and make the determination. but you have three people looking at the ballot, and pretty much on a political from what party they might be, one would say that is a gore vote. that is a bush vote. it was just extremely, extremely .ifficult i was just talking to teresa. i don't know whether reliving that situation would be any good . it's a very difficult -- now, when i went to the court, it was all legal arguments. but when we were in the trenches
and we were trying to determine what a manual recount would look had, because we really never done anything in such a great scale, and how you are going to make that determination of what those votes were like, it was very, very difficult. ultimately, broward county finished. ultimately they ended up in the courthouse because we had thousands of people and had restricted access. he had an accounting firm came inr their time and there, and every time the canvassing board would take about it and say this was for one county or the other, the accounting firm would sit there and room with a computer
with software and they had a republican and a democratic observer with them, and ultimately they came out with a the vote,recount of and we ultimately got that into the secretary of state. we were one of the ones they got , andin on the time frame it was a very difficult time and trying to make that decision when you had no basis for those decisions. i am going to turn it now to the realplayer and this, teresa. i haveave to tell you, been doing this for a lot of years, and she is one of the finest supervisors of elections that has ever worked in the state of florida. a fine, fine person. [applause]
>> 14 years ago. just to give you a little bit of background, i started in the elections office in 1971 when i was about six years old. we had lever machines back then. i can remember opening up the lever machines and they were all , and the counters had not been turning during the day. there were some that would have zero or not as many. back in 1973, 74. 1973-1974, we started getting too many of these. because our county was growing, anothered to go to system. the new, up-and-coming way to vote was the punchcard system.
so part of the county went in 1974 and then the entire county. our county was growing by leaps and bounds. started in 1971, we had .bout 250,000 registered voters we are up to 850,000 some now. it mushroomed. i was elected in 1996 when the current supervisor decided to retire from office. i had been going to a lot of stake conferences and federal conferences. i was asked to sit on a federal task force for voters with disabilities, for access for voters with disabilities. that our county have a
large retirement population, that was something i felt i needed to do. i was reallyings cognizant of was the size of the type print. election ande 2000 we had 12 -- i don't even weember now -- however many had, if we put them all on one sheet, the print would've been the smallest size, eight point. so in order to make sure ,verybody could read it easily we developed the page to page ballot which the media called the butterfly ballot. we had used it before. mail your -- mayor daley in really railed against it even though his district was one of the first to use that ballot.
a lot of things were said and done during that time. that were very interesting. but anyway. did the ballot and sent it out to everybody that needed to see it. nobody said a word. it was sent to all registered voters in the county. nobody said a word. everybody approved it on both sides, up, down, in the middle. nobody said a word until election morning and i truly believe the part of the problem is we have a very large retirement population in our county that were used to -- from the northeast -- that were used what are called palm cards. if anybody knows what those are, their little cards you hold in the palm of your hand when you go into vote. they are cheat sheets. times -- because
the punchcard had a number. they would either just punched the number or the third hole from the top or whatever the case may be. that was part of the problem because the palm cards that were distributed -- and in my storage --t somewhere i have one that was incorrect. myths been brought up that the chads and machine we purposely -- and i am only talking about palm beach county -- but we purposely picked out precincts we sent that equipment to or reset machines that weren't cleaned out or whatever the case may be -- if any of you an electionrked in office during election time, even working for a candidate, you know how crazy it is in the
six months before an election. in my county, because we are so large, we start preparing for an election july 1. hire anybody we tell them, even numbered years between july and november, you're not going to take a vacation, you're not going to get married, you're not going to get pregnant, nothing. you're going to work. that's just the way it is. we don't have time to sit there and say ok, precinct 52, we want to send bad equipment to that one, or precinct 31, we want to send bad equipment to that one. i can honestly say in my 35 years in the elections office that i don't believe any supervisor in the 57 counties in this data florida would ever do that. wouldthe state of florida ever do that. having said that, equipment one -- went out,tarted
voting,tarted and all hell broke loose. to block outon is bad memories so i am trying to post -- my inclination is to block out bad memories, so i am trying to pull stuff from there. a congressman, state senator, state legislator and some other hangers on walked in and said we have a problem. we went through the whole there was a problem, we try to send information out to the precincts to make sure everybody understands you can only vote for one person for any race. pay attention. read the ballot. , everything just imploded or exploded and you all know the rest of the story there.
i firmly believe -- and the general minute the table may disagree with me -- but i firmly believe that -- gentlemen at the table may disagree with me, but if one ofelieve that these three go into counties and start finding what you can. we had attorneys in my office from all over the country. it you don't -- you don't have getrneys from california there that quick. it took soreasons long is because every time we turned around we had lawsuits against us. lawsuits filed
against me. the office and me personally. and i won every single one of them. we were getting our information from cnn. we would be working and all of a sudden a thing would come up said this judge says stop. this judge says start. we didn't know what we were doing. we were trying to do the best we can. just a little about palm beach county, we had a little over that00 ballots cast in election. we had to hire and train over 5000 poll workers for that one day. those of you who have businesses, you know how easy it is to get good help. this is the only job in the world where your reputation, your life, your career, is 5000 volunteers to do their job and to do it they were trained for. them does something
wrong, does it the way they , you getshould be done a complaint filed and it's over. it's all your fault no matter what. the majority of coworkers did what they were supposed to do. some of them didn't, but again, it's human nature not to do what they were supposed to do. 37 days. it dragged on. now mind you, myself and my had been working since july 1, 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days a week. the election comes in for another 37 days we didn't sleep. we were stuck doing what we needed to do to get it over with. personally, i didn't care which won. i was there to do my job and do what needed to be done.
supervisor who is elected versus appointed, and appointed supervisor of elections is at the mercy of their boss, which is the county commission, and a perfect example of someone who tried to do the right thing and it wasn't bosseseir boss -- his wanted him to do was david leahy the supervisor of miami-dade county. he was doing what he thought was the right thing and they fired him. i went through holy hell with my county commissioners. the democratic ones, because i was registered democrat, wanted me to do it they wanted. the republicans want me to do what they wanted. i didn't do either one. i did what i thought was the right thing to do and it cost me a lot of friends and it cost me my job in 2004. that same congressman, state senator and state representative that walked in a day vowed to
take me out, and they did. run found someone to against me in 2004. i ran unopposed in 2000. i was retired. which, things happen for a reason. i would not go back to doing what i was doing today for all the tea in china because it has gotten their he political. -- gottenten very very political. it has gotten very at this arial, particularly in florida. every time there is an election ,- very adversarial particularly in florida. perfect never have a election if there are humans involved because there are going to be mistakes made. there are going to be things that happen. but i give them all a lot of credit. so, go home and hug your supervisor of elections.
thank you. [applause] >> i don't know if we have time for questions. joe? ? nope. all right, in bush versus gore and other election cases, there is a trend for judges to rule in accordance with their political philosophy. please comment on what this implies for judicial ethics. i am going to answer that one, everybody. let me say this to you. people do not ascend to the bench at any level within like mind.
it just doesn't happen. from the day you are born, all your activities in society, in school, with your friends, former philosophy that you have as to literally everything in life, and that certainly includes issues that are constantly coming before the court. if you expect judges to sit there and just wipe the slate clean and say everything i have learned all my life i am going to forget now, you're sadly judges areecause human beings. they are not machines, and because they are human beings, every judge comes to the bench with certain preconceived ideas as to what certain things ought to be. ,o, in answer to that question and they are not guided by what
these beliefs are. that does not mean they are doing something in order to give someone the shaft, so to speak. they're doing these things because all of their experience in life and the examination of what is taking place before them when they are sitting on the bench applies to that. tells them this is the right thing to do. and that is what most of the judges do. you can rest assured of that. is do westion here have uniform recount procedures in all florida counties? if not, aren't we susceptible to the same legal issues that decided bush versus gore. i don't know. teresa, could you answer that? >> the statue was changed to lay out a procedure for recounts.
the hangingout of chad thing. that went through three generations of voting machines in the end and now we're are back to paper ballots that are and you can look at them and make some determination on that, but there is a standard now for all counties. >> ok. in any event, i want to tell you something that all four of our participants today i think what ethical practitioners and public officials do to handle impossible situations, and they are all to be commended for bushver they did during versus gore, because that is the american way, and you do the right thing. if you look at something and it doesn't look right or it doesn't smells,ght, or if it
don't do it. do it the right things is and that's what ethics are all about. i want to thank our panel members here. we have enjoyed it. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span three. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. senate watergate committee from rufus edmisten and his grandson, judge sam ervin, iv. they recall his character and how the self-proclaimed country lawyer relied on his knowledge of the law and personal convictions to guide the committee. this event was hosted by the north carolina museum of history. it is about an hour.
>> all right. good afternoon. thanks for coming out to the north carolina museum of history. we are getting ready to do our program right now. my name is michael scott. i do a lot of programming at the museum of history. we have three distinguished guests with us. we have dr. karl campbell, author of the book "senator sam ervin, last of the founding fathers." he will be guiding the ship through the waters of watergate. in the center, we have former state attorney general and no stranger to most people here, rufus edmisten. [applause] closest to me, i hope no stranger to people around here, or maybe not, he is a judge. judge sam ervin iv. [applause] all right. thank you, guys.